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Refugee Status Determination (RSD)

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Key points
  • Refugee Status Determination (RSD), is the legal or administrative process by which governments or UNHCR determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, regional or national law
  • In the context of a mass influx emergency, prima facie or group approaches to RSD are often preferable, especially in contexts where there is a national asylum system in place
  • How or if individual RSD is considered as part of an emergency response will depend on the context:
    - When there is a national asylum system, large scale arrivals can quickly overwhelm national processing capacity. Support should be provided to assess options such as a prima facie or simplified approach to refugee recognition or temporary protection, to ensure prompt access to protection and services, as well as to prevent backlogs from accumulating.
    - Where a national asylum system is not operational, UNHCR mandate RSD case processing is usually not the most effective intervention in an emergency context. Prior to embarking on a UNHCR mandate RSD response, it should be assessed if this is the best tool to protect individuals or groups in the country
  • In order to ensure that an effective RSD response, by using group or individual approaches, or an alternative status approach can be implemented (including after the emergency phrase) it is critical to ensure appropriate data is collected during reception and registration procedures

Post emergency phase

The implementation of RSD processing will in most situations continue in the post emergency phase in line with the strategy and processing plan defined during the emergency phase.

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